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Ukrainian defenders use beach buggies, ATVs and electric bicycles at front – WSJ

Saturday, 22 June 2024, 04:25
Ukrainian defenders use beach buggies, ATVs and electric bicycles at front – WSJ
Ukrainian soldiers on an ATV. Photo: WSJ

The Wall Street Journal has written that Ukraine is using beach buggies, ATVs and electric bicycles at the front because these vehicles are quieter and harder to see and hear. This gives soldiers on the front line a better chance of avoiding Russian drones and surviving.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Details: The WSJ noted that the proliferation of reconnaissance and attack drones means that any movement near the front line can be detected in minutes. To avoid this threat, both Ukraine and Russia have been using a variety of small, quiet and manoeuvrable vehicles to deliver supplies, evacuate the wounded soldiers, and sometimes even send troops into battle.


The WSJ noted that these small vehicles were no substitute for traditional military vehicles. They lack the firepower and space to carry large numbers of people or cargo, and their lack of armour leaves everyone on board vulnerable.

But these alternative means of transport fill a niche that soldiers on the front line say has become necessary.

Quote: "On a recent night, Pvt. Vitalii Shablii loaded 350 kg (772 lb) of ammunition and water onto the sort of buggy more commonly put to work on a farm. He turned off its lights and headed to a front-line trench 15 miles away. The buggy, which is around 10-foot long by 5-foot high, was welded together in Kyiv and uses a Volkswagen engine.


‘The smaller it is the better it is in this war,’ he said.

Shablii’s brigade also has a Chinese-made ATV. Both vehicles are mainly used to move supplies, often with a trailer attached, but the buggy has also transported casualties."

More details: For the Azov Brigade soldiers fighting in Kreminna Forest in Ukraine’s east, smaller vehicles are essential for delivering supplies.

An infantry commander who goes by the alias Iraq said that the men survive only thanks to the small vehicles because nothing else can get there in the forest and along these narrow paths.

A frontline medic named Andrii said he was constantly thinking about how to get to the wounded defenders as quickly as possible without coming under Russian fire. He considered electric scooters, bicycles and motorbikes but decided that the manoeuvrability of the unicycle was superior.

"It allows you to move over any obstacles, such as sand or mud," he said, adding that it could also accelerate up to 40 miles an hour.

Electric bicycles are also occasionally used on the front line because of their discreteness. According to their manufacturers, they have the added advantage of generating less heat for radar and thermal imagers. 

Ukrainian electric bike manufacturer Eleek stated it had supplied more than 100 bikes to the military. The Atom model, which costs about US$4,850, can travel at speeds of more than 40 miles per hour and has a range of 62 miles, it said.

Ukraine's defenders also use a range of different ATVs, including models from US manufacturer Polaris, Japan's Yamaha and various Chinese brands. Some of them can reach speeds of over 70 miles per hour. 

Travelling at high speeds over rough terrain makes them unstable, and the lack of armoured protection makes drivers and passengers vulnerable to Russian fire.

Background: The Ministry of Defence said that over 110 models of Ukrainian-made and foreign vehicles have been put into service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) since the beginning of March 2022.

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